Thursday, September 04, 2014

Wine Blog Death Watch: Two wine blogs that are bright lights in a forest of darkness

photo from Tim Gaiser's blog
Brooklyn Guy has turned off the tap. Alice has her newsletter. Reign of Terroir has hit a drought. Eric is safely entrenched within the pages of The Gray Lady. Joe Roberts thinks the wine blogging community might be a joke. Is wine blogging dead? In the word of the inimitable Hosemaster, “No one has any damned idea who is reading a blog.” Who cares if it dead, alive or on life support? As HMW says, “it's a solitary sport. We blog at home, at all hours, in our underwear, drunk, or avoiding our real life.”

Yes, it's been a long, dreadful summer. That said, there are two newish blogs that deserve our positive attention. They are:

photo from Tim Gaiser's blog
Tim Gaiser, Master Sommelier – Anyone who knows Tim knows he is not your typical sommelier. He is a great educator, interested in many things outside of wine, and he is articulate. He also has a unique sense of humor. This from his About Tim section:
In addition to his various consulting, writing and teaching projects, Tim is now focused on a large scale project involving the use of behavioral and neuro sciences to teach and improve olfactory and palate memory and synesthesia as they apply not only to wine, but to other industries including spirits, coffee, tea, olive oil, and perfumes. His cutting edge research in this area is increasing the awareness of how our minds recognize and code smells and tastes. He is using this new information to change how people teach wine tasting and other disciplines that involve the use of sensory evaluation.

Prior to developing his wine expertise, Tim received an M.A. in Classical Music. He played classical trumpet as a freelance professional and as an extra with the San Francisco Opera until 1988.
photo from Tim Gaiser's blog
I love reading Tim’s blog, from the interesting graphics to the ideas expressed. Talking to Tim is like playing 3D checkers in the dark. His brain works on different levels and he talks fast. But I have learned so much from sitting in a dark room, listening to his talks. Put this blog on your feed. Tim has an amazing mind and he is not afraid to share it with the rest of us via his wine blog. And if you are striving for mastery, Tim is an excellent virtual mentor to all of those out there who don't have anyone nearby.

And the other:

Looking toward the village of Pernand from En Charlemagne - photo by Jerome Hasenpflug
Jerome in France – Jerome Hasenpflug was born in Houston, Texas. From his about Jerome section:
He took his B.A. & M.A. degrees in Archaeology & Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, England. Graduate school at Harvard University brought an additional M.A. in Social Anthropology and fieldwork on the Navajo reservation for a Ph.D. he never completed. This was an outcome much regretted at the time, but one that set him on a career path involving food, wine, history, and eventually an anthropological approach to life that informs his personality today.
Jerome is now living in France for a year under a Competences et Talents visa. Jerome is our man on the ground, especially Burgundy.

Les Champs Gains soaking in its own juices - photo by Jerome Hasenpflug
This is a new blog to watch, especially for folks who want to know what is going on in Burgundy. Lots of pictures, many more words. Jerome is a word person. And his passion bleeds into his posts. Read his blog. Support these free works by checking in from time to time.

Wine blogging, both writing and reading, is not for everyone. With nine years of blogging under my belt, it has opened up many worlds for me. To those of you who worry about the proliferation of wine blogs and (with many of them not very good) if you are considering going into this, I offer this:
1) Write for yourself and try to become a better writer. Remember, the more oysters you shuck, the better an oyster shucker you will become.

2) Read great writers. It might not make you a better writer but it will make you more cognizant of what it is you (and others) are writing about.

3) Do not look at stats. When I first started out, no one read my blog. I wrote my heart out. If I didn’t, people wouldn’t have come to it. Some have stayed. Some have moved on. I am still here. I am still writing my heart out. One must write for oneself, first and foremost. Damn the stats – full speed ahead.

4) Write consistently – develop a habit for writing, if only once a week or once a fortnight. People want to come back. Give them a reason to. Set a schedule and stick to it.

5) Don’t follow the trends. There are enough people writing about the earthquake in Napa and many more people qualified to tell that story. Find your own stories. Hell, make them up if you want to (just let the rest of us know when you are “telling a story’). If it is entertaining, who cares if it really happened? The world of speculative fiction is more alive today than ever.

6) Find your niche and scratch it.
Tim and Jerome have found their niche and they offer a look into their world, vinous and otherwise. They have shared their wonderful gifts and for free. Many wine writers who started out blogging have since moved behind pay-walls. More power to ‘em. In the meantime, the new crop needs a place to start.

On your mark. Get set. Go.

photo from Tim Gaiser's blog

Follow these blogs:
Tim Gaiser, Master Sommelier
Jerome in France

Ed Note: I am heading to Sicily and will report, WiFi and bandwidth permitting, from the harvest trail.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W
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